Sarah Connor and her son, John, know the grim tomorrow that awaits their species if the Cyberdyne Corporation gets their Skynet system on-line. Targeted for annihilation because of their future destinies, the Connors have already survived two separate attempts on their lives by advanced Terminator killing machines. But enough T-800 detritus remains from their last life-and-death struggle to enable Cyberdyne to recover. The nightmare is back on track. And the most fearsome and relentless cyborg weapon of all has been dispatched through time to ensure Skynet's victory: a machine so like its human prey that detection is virtually impossible. Considered a dangerous terrorist by the U.S. government and hiding out in Paraguay, Sarah sees another T-800 similar to the cybernetic killer from whom she once narrowly escaped.
Based on the world created in the motion picture written by James Cameron and William Wisher, this superior franchise fiction is the next best thing to Terminator 3. Stirling (Against the Tide of Years, etc.) is a skillful writer of action SF who has studied both the first Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) carefully. He gets the details right, and he's also thought about how, after two failures, the evil master computer of the future would modify the robots it sends back in time to kill its nemesis before he grows up. The new Terminator is female, mechanically and genetically enhanced but able to masquerade as a normal woman. She interacts with and attempts to manipulate a large cast of characters that includes, naturally, Sarah Conner and her now-teenaged son, John. Mother and son imagine they're safely hidden in Paraguay, their anti-machine crusade over, until they are noticed by a retired secret agent who happens to be a double for the nasty Arnold Schwarzenegger/first Terminator. When he innocently discovers who they are, the new Terminator also finds out and sends mechanical assassins after them. And the novel, which has been moving along steadily and efficiently, shifts into high gear. Stirling structures the plot well, and the action builds to a gripping climax which doesn't really conclude much, since this series obviously is intended to run many more books. If they're done this well, it will be an enjoyable ride. (May 8) Forecast: Robots from the future won't be able to stop this sequel to the $204-million domestic grossing T2 film from charging up genre bestseller charts. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 31, 2002
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Excerpt from T2: Infiltrator by S.M. Stirling
Cincinnati: 2021, Post-Judgement Day
Multiple sensors scanned the broken wasteland of the ruined city as the Hunter/Killer's treads rolled its massive steel body over the rusting wrecks of automobiles, crushing the bones of their long-dead drivers. The tortured metal squealing of its passage frightened flocks of birds into flight and sent more earthbound animals scurrying for cover.
Piles of scorched and shattered brick and concrete, twisted steel, and broken glass blocked the HK's view to one side or the other. Sometimes it made its way through canyons of rubble. Then, inexplicably, a wall that had somehow survived the blast wave would stand before it, only to be shattered by the machine's passage.
The HK's satellite feed had shown what appeared to be massive human troop movements in this area. Thus far no information the machine had collected verified those reports.
It checked its omni-directional sensor array for a possible equipment failure. All systems were on-line, no failure detected. No targets detected. The machine reviewed the satellite information indicating human activity to the northeast. The machine continued on its way, tireless, unrelenting, utterly lacking in self-awareness.
Until Skynet touched it. Then the most brilliant, and from a human standpoint, malevolent intelligence ever created looked out through the HK's sensor windows. It wondered why satellite information disagreed so completely with the reality before it. There were no humans here.
Until recently there never had been; humans avoided the big cities that had perished in the first wave of nuclear explosions. Skynet knew that they feared exposure to lingering radiation. That was why Skynet opted to place its satellite receivers, its antennae and repair stations, within their ruined confines.